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My Baby Has More Friends Than I Do

By Esther Haynes |

Hazel in a striped hat

Who wouldn't want to be friends with this happy baby? Hazel, 6 months old.

It’s true.

Mike and I moved into a new apartment in October, when Hazel was only 3 months old. And she met all our neighbors before I did, because our nanny would take her down to the lobby to see the kids when they were coming home from school. I guess my smiley baby made quite an impression, because when I would run into random neighbors on the weekends, they would inevitably say, “Oh, you’re Hazel’s mother!” then ignore me and talk to my tiny daughter like she was an old drinking buddy.

After the first time it happened, I said to Mike, “It’s so weird that you can just make a person and then people you don’t even know can like that person.”

Granted, everybody loves a baby—any baby. But shouldn’t the parent accompanying the infant be acknowledged, too? On Saturday as I was sitting with my daughter in the lobby, three adults walked by and said, “Hi Hazel!” They didn’t even introduce themselves to me, they just breezed out the door. I waved.

When people talk directly to my (now) 6 month old, I never know how I should react. Especially when they ask her questions. Should I just smile and nod? Answer the question myself? Or answer for Hazel? And if the latter, should I do it in creepy baby talk or in my own voice?

Yesterday, for instance, I was walking Hazel around the lobby in a stroller so we wouldn’t wake up Mike, who was still asleep in the apartment. A woman walked past and said, “Hi Hazel! Are you sad that it’s too cold to go outside?”

After a pause, I finally answered, “Yes, it’s a shame!”

Still looking only at my baby, the woman said, “Did you take a nap yet? Are you ready for a nap?”

That’s when I started saying in a high-pitched voice, “No, I just woke up!” before I came to my senses and said, like a normal person, “Right, sweetie? You just woke up.” Then I turned and started wheeling her away fast.

“Bye, Hazel!” the neighbor yelled after us. I have no idea what her name is or in which apartment she lives.

I love new motherhood, but I don’t know if I’m comfortable being identified primarily as “Hazel’s mom.” Then again, if Hazel’s happy-baby friendliness tricks people into thinking that Mike and I are good neighbors—with absolutely no effort on our part—I guess I should just suck it up, right? Because who knows when we might need to borrow a cup of sugar.

More posts from Esther:
The Incredible Baby Trick Only My Nanny Knows

How We Got the Baby to Sleep Thru the Night

Does My Cesarean Count as “Giving Birth”?

More on Babble

About Esther Haynes


Esther Haynes

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3 thoughts on “My Baby Has More Friends Than I Do

  1. labo says:

    very charming

  2. Sarah says:

    Too bad you’ll have to send Hazel to get the cup of sugar, or they won’t know who you are! :-)

  3. carrie says:

    right! I mean, people talk to my daughter all the time, at the supermarket, at Target and I always answer for her, then catch myself and feel silly. But really what else am I supposed to do when strangers say, “oh what beautiful eyes you have and those eye lashes!” I always say thank you, but they weren’t talking to me and do I take credit for the eyes?
    I have to admit, it is really nice to just be walking down the street and people smile at you, at your baby, just beacuse something about seeing her makes them happy.

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